R. A. Lafferty

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Re: R. A. Lafferty

Postby owlcroft on Wednesday, 25 July 2012, 8:25 pm

Thanks for the update. That is wonderful news. There are still a few nominally extant Laffertys that I have been unable to acquire owing to their being either hideously expensive or, in not a few cases, apparently unavailable at all any more.

I, and I'm sure many others, look forward to the republication with unabated eagerness.
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Re: R. A. Lafferty

Postby soulgoober on Wednesday, 05 September 2012, 9:44 am

Does anyone have any kind of reliable update?

My dream would be to have his entire shorter work released (or re-released as the case may be) in some kind of multi-volume set, including (and forgive me if me drooling on my keyboard affects my spelling) his un-published shorter works. It would be amazing to see something like that come to light in the nearish future and not spread out over an infinitely long period of time where by the time the later editions are released, the earliest ones are already long out of print. I hope they do a LOT more than just a best-of short story collection, as it will not only be hopelessly incomplete, but entirely subjective in terms of what constitutes the word "best."

Anyway, does anyone know anything?

Thanks!
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Re: R. A. Lafferty

Postby epiktistes on Sunday, 23 September 2012, 3:27 pm

Gary/soulgoober—

I assure you that those buying the Lafferty estate did not do so solely to put out a Best Of; that volume would be designed to get him new readers and jog the memories of old ones, and sign both on to the more extensive publications that will follow after. Also, in an age when even university publishers have moved to print-on-demand publishing, keeping the volumes in print will not be nearly as difficult as it used to be.

As for keyboard-drooling, keep in mind that bulk of his unpublished writing (and the strongest material, by far) is in the novels: Esteban, Fair Hills of Ocean, Oh!, Iron Tongue of Midnight, and the remaining Coscuin Chronicles and In a Green Tree volumes are all among his strongest work. Most of the shorter works date from the earliest days of his writing career; many are good, but not quite at the level of the more accomplished later novels. (Particular exceptions: "Ahoy the Whale!", "The Rod and the Ring", and especially "Hand of the Potter: An Idyll"—for further details, see my catalog of the "Unpublished Lafferty" printed in the January 2012 NY Review of Science Fiction.)

This whole process is moving forward but all the people involved are very deeply connected with genre lit networks—great in that the books will have the best possible publicity; bad in that everyone stays murderously busy. It will happen though, and in the "nearish future" too.
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Re: R. A. Lafferty

Postby owlcroft on Sunday, 23 September 2012, 6:01 pm

I do so hope that one of the early issues will be More Than Melchisedech, preferably in a single-volume form; at present, BookFinder shows exactly one copy of Argo for sale worldwide, at about $145. Having the rest of the Coscuin novels is also much to be wished for.

I await with bated breath.
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Re: R. A. Lafferty

Postby Will Maynard on Friday, 30 November 2012, 8:59 pm

I just want to let you know that I found "Sodom and Gomorrah, Texas" in print. Also, one of the limited printings is missing from your Lafferty page:
Horns on Their Heads (800 copies). I managed to obtian one of these a wihle back. ISBN 0-914010-01-8.
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Re: R. A. Lafferty

Postby owlcroft on Saturday, 01 December 2012, 6:12 pm

Thanks for the heads-up on that. I probably won't get to adding the listing till after the turn of the year: I have fallen far behind on a number of sites I try to maintain, and the press of everyday matters has been unusually high lately. I am hoping that after the holidays that will have subsided, allowing me to undertake some much-needed updates and expansions throughout.
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Re: R. A. Lafferty

Postby willymcgilly on Sunday, 10 February 2013, 9:59 pm

Very happy to have found this thread. I have long been a Lafferty devotee, but have ended up resorting to unorthodox methods to try and round out my collection, and even then there are books that I failed to lay my hands on. While I would be extremely excited to have the latter two Coscuin Chronicles volumes added to my collection, my ultimate hope is that a 'Complete Short Works' volume comes out. I have all but a few of his short collections, but those that I don't have haunt me, and many of his stories were never collected. Rather than a "Best Of," which would be redundent when I have many of his best already, I would be ecstatic to see a comprehensive collection published.

Also, generally, it's been a while since the last post, here. Is there any word from the inside? So far I've heard nothing publically released, although when I last spoke to Greg Ketter personally, he did say that he (and he mentioned Mr. Gaiman, as well) had been contacted in conjunction with re-publishing some Lafferty.
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Re: R. A. Lafferty

Postby epiktistes on Sunday, 24 March 2013, 11:33 pm

Things on the Lafferty front are moving, and the momentum is such that the remaining hurdles shouldn't take too long to clear. There are multiple projects in the work, and I think people will be really excited once the details start emerging. Certainly, it will be much easier to get a hold of his works than formerly (not sure about pricing yet though).

One thing to keep in mind is that 2014 is Ray's centennial, so a lot of stuff is going to be timed to take advantage of that (though I would expect to hear at least promotional stuff about one or more of the projects in the next 3-6 months). In the meantime, if people are interested: I am blogging my way through Ray's corpus at ralafferty.tumblr.com.
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Re: R. A. Lafferty

Postby owlcroft on Monday, 25 March 2013, 3:34 pm

Most excellent! I know that there was a lot that never even got published. I would love some sort of uniform edition of the entire corpus, analogous to the Vance Integral Edition, though I don't know that as much editorial work is wanting.

Thanks for the heads-up.
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Re: R. A. Lafferty

Postby epiktistes on Saturday, 06 April 2013, 11:53 am

One project appears to be moving ahead: the Centipede Press edition of Lafferty's short fiction, which will eventually collect every previously published story: http://www.amazon.com/From-Thunder-Colt ... 613470460/. (Don't know the exact contents but the volumes will not follow any previously issued collections.)

They're pricey, and the edition will be limited, but that doesn't preclude later, cheaper, non-limited editions of the same material. Ought to be beautiful books though.
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Re: R. A. Lafferty

Postby owlcroft on Sunday, 07 April 2013, 3:28 pm

Is there any estimate of the total number of volumes ultimately to comprise the collected short fiction? As you say, they are a bit pricey. Also, at what intervals are they likely to appear? Somehow, psychologically, big expenses don't seem quite as big when spread out enough.
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Re: R. A. Lafferty

Postby paw2612 on Saturday, 20 April 2013, 4:24 pm

epiktistes wrote:...which will eventually collect every previously published story...

Which begs the question: what about the stories that haven't been previously published?
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Re: R. A. Lafferty

Postby epiktistes on Monday, 29 April 2013, 12:03 am

paw2612 wrote:
epiktistes wrote:...which will eventually collect every previously published story...

Which begs the question: what about the stories that haven't been previously published?


Not sure yet. At some point they'll get published, but I don't know if that will be part of this project or not--if so then I imagine they'd include a few in each volume; although I guess they could do them in one volume all at the end. They may also come out piecemeal. Hard to say at this point.

Anyway, there's some good'uns among the unpublished shorts but the real treasure of the archives is the unpublished novels.

owlcroft wrote:Is there any estimate of the total number of volumes ultimately to comprise the collected short fiction? As you say, they are a bit pricey. Also, at what intervals are they likely to appear? Somehow, psychologically, big expenses don't seem quite as big when spread out enough.


Don't know about intervals, but I think 8–10 volumes in all.
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Re: R. A. Lafferty

Postby Andrew on Saturday, 18 May 2013, 9:51 pm

Can someone who understands the industry explain the thought process behind this? Ten short books at $60-100 each, and presumably the same price range for all the novels, is a major expense. Why not a smaller number of longer volumes?

Since I'm already being petty, one further point: these short, blurbish introductions by celebrity writers may be well intentioned, but I've yet to see one that has provided anything of substance. Do they really add to the selling power of the book? Maybe it's just me, but I really doubt anyone who is willing to spend this much money on a series will be swayed by an essay Harlan Ellison dashed off in half an hour.

Sorry for the rant, and I certainly don't mean to offend anyone. Lafferty is very dear to me, and learning that this collection is well outside my price range comes as a real disappointment.
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Re: R. A. Lafferty

Postby owlcroft on Sunday, 19 May 2013, 5:12 pm

I strongly suspect that in the near to middle future we will see significantly more economical editions. These seem to be aimed at bibliophile collectors rather than the general market.
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Re: R. A. Lafferty

Postby milum on Friday, 18 October 2013, 8:09 pm

owlcroft wrote:I strongly suspect that in the near to middle future we will see significantly more economical editions. These seem to be aimed at bibliophile collectors rather than the general market.


Say owlcroft, just how far away is the near-to-middle future? Maybeso the Lafferty bibliophile collectors are too tight to be quickly milked. I bet Lafferty wouldn't like his books sitting around unread while greedy speculators speculate. :x
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Re: R. A. Lafferty

Postby owlcroft on Saturday, 19 October 2013, 5:45 pm

Say owlcroft, just how far away is the near-to-middle future?

I'll substitute one vagueness for another: when the market for the bibliophile editions is effectively exhausted. Only the other day I was reading an economics textbook, and it presented the two basic strategies for a product rollout: begin with a high-priced version that maximizes per-item profit, then when that market is saturated, produce a somewhat lesser but somewhat lower-priced version to tap another layer of the market, and so on; or, begin with a barebones but lowest-price version to try to saturate the market. There are virtues and drawbacks to each method, and it depends in part on the product and on competition. Here, they have apparently chosen the first method.

Maybeso the Lafferty bibliophile collectors are too tight to be quickly milked. I bet Lafferty wouldn't like his books sitting around unread while greedy speculators speculate.

It is totaly wrong to refer to them as "greedy speculators": The Locus Science Fiction Foundation is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit entity. They paid a lot of cash for the rights, the margins in publishing are quite small, and the market is fairly limited. You might want to review this thread from the start for some further discussion of the (guesstimated) economics, but again, "speculators" is exactly what they are not.
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Re: R. A. Lafferty

Postby milum on Sunday, 20 October 2013, 2:10 pm

Thanks owlcroft, your views are certainly one truth but the reality is that the worthwhile and otherwise thoughts of long dead Lafferty are being withheld by a consortium of sorts for reasons obscure. Think about the little and big kiddies whose minds are getting cold in the interim.

And think about me. One small pleasure in my life is in giving selected books by Lafferty to
selected people. Now cheap books by Lafferty cost a hundred bucks each and I have lots and lots of people that I select.
Non-profit foundations oft-times have their own raison d'être, don't you think? :(
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Re: R. A. Lafferty

Postby owlcroft on Sunday, 20 October 2013, 4:34 pm

I think that their reasons are to try to recoup the non-trivial amount of money they expended on obtaining the rights. Recall that no one else outbid them, and in fact that few--maybe no--other bidders even showed up along the way. So, if they hadn't gone forth with the purchase, the rights would belong to parties with no interest in or ability to do anything at all. As I believe was noted elsethread, even the reprints by Wildside Press mostly stuck to the "established" Lafferty works: there was little market for his less-known work. When the market is small, the prices need to be high just to recoup actual costs (as with the recent Pegana Press ussues of previously unpublished Dunsany stories).
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Re: R. A. Lafferty

Postby milum on Monday, 21 October 2013, 7:29 pm

Good news, I think. I just talked to a nice fellow at Locus who squirreled answers from a busy fellow in an office across the hall. As follows:

Me: Can you tell me when the stories by Lafferty are going to be re-published?
Nice fellow: I'll go ask, give me a minute (a minute passes).
Nice fellow: The short stories should be available the first of next month.
Me: Have they been printed?
Nice fellow: Yes, I think. They will be available sometime next month.
Me: Great! What about the Lafferty novels?
Nice fellow: They will be published the first of the coming year unless...
Me: Unless what?
Fellow: Well there are some details...
Nice me: I understand. I know you all are doing all you can to bring them to market. Thank you.

Nice fellow also told me who was doing the printing but I can't exactly remember the name.
Maybe it was Centipede Press.
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